How to cook with Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe probably isn’t a fruit you think of cooking with. Aside from having it in a fruit salad, the idea of cooking with it just doesn’t seem like it would work — especially given its water content. However, you really can cook cantaloupe and make some amazing dishes with them.

Roasting cantaloupe is a wonderful way to cook with it. As a matter of fact, roasted cantaloupe takes on a whole new taste. So if generally speaking you don’t like cantaloupe, then try it roasted — you might be pleasantly surprised.

Roasted cantaloupe becomes a great topping for your breakfast cereal in the morning, or maybe on your ice cream for dessert. Or mix it with some Greek yogurt.

How to Roast Cantaloupe

If you’re looking for the how to, it’s really quite simple.

* Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
* Cut up your cantaloupe into chunks.
* Toss about 2 tablespoons of sugar with the cantaloupe (substitute honey and a splash of vanilla for a slightly different taste).
* Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cantaloupe begins to caramelize. Cool completely.

There you have it — a great topping or mix in for an added sweet taste with a little crunch.

You can also grill cantaloupe, just to change things up a little. Cantaloupe actually grills very nicely. Slice your cantaloupe and put a little brown sugar on top. Then pop it on the grill for a few minutes on each side just to get some nice grill marks on it. Serve it with your favorite ice cream.

You can also leave cantaloupe the way it is and pair it with some other great foods to help you find a way to enjoy cantaloupe that much more. Try this great recipe for a fruit salad.

Fruit-Filled Watermelon

* 1 watermelon
* 1 honeydew melon
* 1 cantaloupe
* 1 pineapple
* Strawberries
* Blueberries
* Other in season fruit of your desire
* Aloha Sauce (recipe below)

Cut a thin, horizontal slice from the bottom of watermelon so it will rest evenly. Slice watermelon in half lengthwise. Carve a decorative zigzag edge from the sliced edge of the watermelon. Scoop out the fruit – this is your bowl. Scoop melon balls from other half.

Fill the bowl with the rest of the fruit. Pour Aloha Sauce (see below) over fruit and toss lightly.

Aloha Sauce

* 2 tbsp strained lemon juice
* 2 tbsp lime juice
* 2 tbsp orange juice
* 1/3 cup water
* 2/3 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients together and pour over the fruit salad.

Melon and Prosciutto

Finally, for a sweet and salty appetizer, why not try this Melon and Prosciutto combination.

* 1 large cantaloupe
* 3 ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto or fully cooked ham

Cut cantaloupe in half and remove seeds. Using a melon baller, scoop out pulp or cut pulp into bite-size cubes.

Cut prosciutto or ham into 1-inch wide strips. Wrap a strip of prosciutto around each melon ball. Fasten prosciutto with a toothpick.

If you’re going to have cantaloupe and cook with it, just get creative. It’s a sweet fruit, so experiment with your palate and see what you can create. Make a salsa or a cantaloupe puree, or just add it to the side of a tasty shrimp and basil Aioli. Just have fun with it and enjoy cooking with cantaloupe.

What are your favorite cantaloupe recipes?